Agresto of Carmignano
Agresto of Carmignano “CLASSIC”
To name one above all, Pellegrino Artusi, in the recipe for stewed pigeons, wrote: “At the time of the agresto, you can use this instead of the lemon by following the dictation: Quando Sol est in leone, Bonum Vinum con popone, Et Agrestum con pipione”. (When the sun is in Leo, good wine with melon, Agresto with pigeon)
Agresto is an ancient Italian condiment, whose origins date back to ancient Rome, widely used in medieval cuisine and in that of the Renaissance courts, especially in Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. It is obtained by cooking the must of unripe grapes, with the addition of vinegar, honey, onion, garlic and various spices. It was a very common sauce in the tables of the rich as well as in those of the poor. The pleasantly acidic and non-aggressive taste like that of vinegar, has decreed its success for centuries.
And the tradition has remained, surfacing here and there in the regional and country kitchens, in fact, of Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, where it was the habit of the farmer to collect extra grapes to keep it for himself from the owner’s vineyard, and use it for seasoning. The expression was “far l’agresto” and from there (apparently) the saying “far la cresta” was born. Since 2009 it has had the recognition of PAT (Traditional Agri-food Product) by the Tuscany Region. Currently, in fact, it is produced continuously only by some companies.
For production, it begins in the summer, in late July and early August with the harvest of immature grapes, at the time of veraison.
The vines for the harvest are exclusively red berried grapes, mostly Sangiovese, Cabernet (in the Carmignano area), strawberry grapes, and other native vines. The grapes are collected and subjected to a soft pressing. The next phase involves cooking the must obtained together with the other ingredients. At this point in fact the product is ready for pasteurization and bottling.